Impact ionization (IMP) is a fundamental process in semiconductors, which results in carrier multiplication through the decay of a hot electron into a low-energy state while generating an electron-hole pair. IMP is essentially a state selective process, which is triggered by electron-electron interaction involving four electronic states specified precisely by energy and momentum conservations. However, important state-selective features remain undetermined due to methodological limitations in identifying the energy and momentum of the states involved, at sufficient temporal resolution, to reveal the fundamental dynamics. Here we report state-resolved ultrafast hot electron dynamics of IMP in InSb, a semiconductor with the lowest band-gap energy. The ultrafast decay of state-resolved hot-electron populations and the corresponding population increase at the conduction band minimum are directly captured, and the rate of IMP is unambiguously determined. Our analysis, based on the direct knowledge of state-resolved hot electrons, provides far deeper insight into the physics of ultrafast electron correlation in semiconductors.
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